Basic Cream Biscuits

As I declared recently I am on a mission to be a master biscuit maker.  So today I am stating with a basic biscuit recipe, the cream biscuit.


The ingredients are simple and you probably have all but the heavy cream right now.  Maybe you have the cream if you’re an avid baker or you drink cream in your coffee, or you just have a kitchen that’s ready for anything!  I had to go out and buy some cream to make these biscuits, but I had everything else, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  That’s all you need.  And from start to finish these only take about 25 minutes!  What could be better than a quick, simple and delicious biscuit?


Everyone wants a tender biscuit.  So, as I began making these biscuits I was very conscious of a tip I’ve heard and read many times regarding biscuit making, DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH.  So I mixed it up just until it held together, and I kneaded it just enough so that I could easily pat it together to cut from.  After cutting three 2 1/2 inch biscuits from my first round of dough I was a little scared to bring the scraps together to cut from, so I dealt with them very gently.  The result was a less uniform biscuit, but one that still tasted amazing!  The lesson I learned from this was to make sure you get as many biscuits from your first round of dough as possible to get as many beautiful biscuits as you can.

I was also shooting for tall biscuits, so I patted the dough out a little thicker than the recipe states, about 1 inch thick.  This led to fewer total biscuits, 6 instead of the 8 the recipe states you’ll get from the recipe.

The biscuits fill your house with an amazing and rich aroma as they bake.  It’s so delicious that you can’t help but take a bite of one of these as soon as they’re cool enough to eat.  And that, of course, is they best time to eat them, when they’re nice and warm.  If you make these ahead of time, you can warm them in a low oven before eating.  You can also cut the rounds of dough, place them on the cookie sheet, then cover them and refrigerate for up to 2 hours before baking.


Enjoy these with butter and jam, the simpler the better in my opinion.  However, I do plan to use some of the leftover biscuits to make breakfast sandwiches this weekend.

Basic Cream Biscuits

From America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Makes 6-8 biscuits, depending on the cutter


  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


  1.  Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the cream.  Mix gently with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead just until dough comes together.
  5. Pat into a round about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Using a 2 or 2 1/2 inch cutter, press straight down without twisting to cut each biscuit.  Place on the baking sheet and continue cutting.
  6. Gather scraps together and cut as many more as you can.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until tops are golden.

Daring Bakers: Star Breads

Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?


When I saw this challenge I felt a little intimidated.  I don’t feel 100% comfortable with bread, always fearing I will make a mistake somewhere along the way and the dough won’t rise or the end product will be dry and inedible.  But I wound up with two wonderful loaves of beautiful bread that even my kids loved.  It was referred to as the “special bread” by my son.

This challenge gave Daring Bakers the freedom to choose what they used to fill their bread and also what design they would create.  Being the non-creative type I just used the suggested methods for twisting my loaves of bread.  And if any part of you thinks, “I can’t do that.” trust me, you can.  It’s easier than it seems. For fillings I made a savory bread and a sweet bread.  I used the same dough recipe for each.

For the savory loaf I chose basil pesto and mozzarella cheese.  My only regret is not adding just a little more cheese to the layers.  But it was delicious and something I would definitely go through the trouble to make again.  It would be a lovely and impressive bread to bring to a dinner party or pot luck.


For the sweet loaf I went with classic cinnamon sugar.  We ate this bread for breakfast over the course of 3 days and Carson was sad when it was gone.  Again, this is something I’d make again without hesitation.  The method I used in twisting the dough was a little more complicated and tedious than the pesto bread, but baked up beautifully.

cinnamonbread3 cinnamonbread2

I drizzled this bread with a simple milk and powdered sugar glaze before serving.  Almost like eating a cinnamon roll, possibly better.cinnamonbread1

Here are a few pictures of the process, none of the actual twisting of the bread since I am my own photographer and could not manage to get any action shots.

dough1 dough2 dough3 dough4 dough5 dough6

The instructions I am going to try to write for how to shape your bread will probably fail in perfectly communicating how to do it.  So here are a few links that will help you.

This one has a good video on the entire process.  This is not the twisting method I used, but I think it looks beautiful and wish I’d found it before I made my bread!

And this one is what I used.  I found the pictures and instructions to be very helpful.

Pesto Star Bread



  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (start with 3 1/4, add more if you need it)


  • 3-5 tablespoons basil pesto, store bought or homemade
  • 3-5 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese


  • olive oil
  • faked salt



  1. Heat butter, milk and water just until butter has melted and mixture is between 100 and 110°F, warm but not hot.
  2. Put milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in egg and sugar, then sprinkle yeast on to the mixture, stir once then let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Mixture should be foamy after this, if it’s not your liquid was too hot and killed the yeast or your yeast was no good to begin with.
  3. Place the dough hook on your mixer and begin mixing, adding about a cup of flour at a time.  Once all the flour has been added, mix until dough comes together.
  4. Place in a large greased bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.

Filling and Shaping and Baking

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 4 equal sized pieces.
  3. Roll one dough piece out, just big enough to fit your template.  I used an 8-inch cake pan, but I think if you can manage to roll your dough out well enough you could get a 9 or 10-inch circle out of the dough.  8-inch was a nice size, though.
  4. Place the template onto the dough and trim off the excess.  Transfer to the cookie sheet.
  5. Spread with a heaping tablespoon of pesto, just about to the edge, then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of cheese.
  6. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, but not topping the top layer with pesto and cheese.  Press and tuck the edges of the top piece to enclose the bread somewhat.
  7. Brush the top layer with olive oil.
  8. With a small sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the bread into 12 wedges, leaving the outer edge intact, making sure to cut all the way through the layers.
  9. Take one triangle and twist it gently 3 times and place back  in the center.  Repeat with the rest of the wedges, twisting in the same direction.
  10. Let rest for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450°F.  Sprinkle with flaked salt and bake for 5 minutes, then lower oven temp to 375°F and bake for 10-15 more minutes until bread is golden brown.  Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t get too dark.

Cinnamon Star Bread



  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Glaze (enough for 4 pieces, double for the entire loaf)

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons milk



  1. Heat butter, milk and water just until butter has melted and mixture is between 100 and 110°F, warm but not hot.
  2. Put milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in egg and sugar, then sprinkle yeast on to the mixture, stir once then let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Mixture should be foamy after this, if it’s not your liquid was too hot and killed the yeast or your yeast was no good to begin with.
  3. Place the dough hook on your mixer and begin mixing, adding about a cup of flour at a time.  Once all the flour has been added, mix until dough comes together.
  4. Place in a large greased bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.

Filling and Shaping and Baking

  1. Whisk sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 4 equal sized pieces.
  4. Roll one dough piece out, just big enough to fit your template.  I used an 8-inch cake pan, but I think if you can manage to roll your dough out well enough you could get a 9 or 10-inch circle out of the dough.  8-inch was a nice size, though.
  5. Place the template onto the dough and trim the excess.  Transfer carefully to the cookie sheet.
  6. Brush bottom layer with butter, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.  Repeat with the remaining dough, but only brush the top layer with butter.
  7. Using a small sharp knife or a bench scraper cut circle of dough into 8 equal-sized wedges, making sure to cut all the way through the layers.
  8. With a small knife cut a slit in the center of each triangle leaving space at the top and bottom, the cut should not reach either the base or the tip of the triangle.
  9. Take the tip of the triangle and gently bring it up, over and through the slit, then repeat once more making two twists.  Place the triangle back on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces.
  10. Take the outside edge of each triangle and pinch the ends up and together.
  11. Whisk together the milk and sugar and brush onto the bread.
  12. Let rest for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450°F.
  13. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown.


  1. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl.
  2. Whisk in milk until mixture is smooth.
  3. Glaze entire loaf (with a doubled recipe of the glaze) OR glaze each piece individually.  If you don’t plan to eat all the bread in one sitting I’d recommend waiting to glaze the remaining bread until you plan to eat it.

Store any leftover bread wrapped in foil at room temperature for 3-5 days.  Re-warm in a low oven, toaster oven or microwave.  You could also freeze this bread, wrap it well in plastic wrap, then foil.  Thaw then reheat in a low oven.



Quick Honey Dinner Rolls

These warm, soft, pillowy, sweet little bundles of happiness will be on your dinner table in 45 minutes.  No lie.  I made them twice this week and everyone in our house loved them.  Ben had 3 with dinner last night, and I had 2…and one a little later in the evening with some butter and honey.  Heaven.  No longer will I be buying rolls in the bakery or pulling a frozen bag of Sister Shubert’s out.  I still love you, Sister Shubert.  Your sausage rolls are amazing.  I’ll still be eating those.


I had a sudden urge to make dinner rolls earlier this week at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  My kids eat dinner at 5, so I knew I needed to find something fast.  I googled “fast dinner rolls” and found this recipe from Your Homebased Mom.  I made them as written the first time and loved them.  But as I poured the sugar into the bowl I thought, “Maybe you could use honey in these…”  and so that is what I did the next time.  I also brushed the rolls before and after baking with melted butter.  I loved them more.

These are delicious right after they’re baked, but reheat wonderfully.  So they would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table that you could easily make the morning of or even the night before.  So go make a batch.  You’ll thank me.

Honey Dinner Rolls

From Your Homebased Mom


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Combine water, yeast, honey and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir a couple times then let rest for 10 minutes to bloom.
  3. With a dough hook mix in the flour, salt, baking powder and egg.  Continue to mix for 2-3 minutes until dough comes together.  If it seems especially sticky add a tablespoon or two of flour.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal sized pieces.  Shape into balls that are smooth on top (in doesn’t matter what the bottoms look like) and place in prepared pan.
  5. Cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise for 15 minutes.
  6. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter (about half of what you have) and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Brush with remaining melted butter and let cool slightly before serving.

Coconut Oil Zucchini Bread

Me and coconut oil became fast friends once we finally got around to meeting each other.  I’ve only used it in baked goods so far, but have plans to deepen my relationship with coconut oil by using it in my morning smoothie and as a substitute for vegetable or canola oil in stir fry.  And as you probably know by now, there are like a million other uses for this trendy cooking oil.


This zucchini bread was a hit, which was a total relief.  When I poured (scooped) the batter into the pans I was worried about it.  Coconut oil just has a different consistency and doesn’t create the same textured batter as vegetable oil does.  It’s thicker and doesn’t fill the pans on its own, it needs some help into the corners.  This being my first time using coconut oil in a quick bread, I wasn’t confident that it would come out well.  If you have the same concern, no need to worry!  The loaf does end up being on the short side, but the texture is nice and while it is dense it isn’t heavy.  The zucchini isn’t overwhelmed by the coconut, which is rather mild.  If you really like and want a more distinct coconut flavor, then add some flaked sweetened or unsweetened coconut to the batter.  Some crushed pineapple might not be a bad idea either…

I have an undying love for pecans, so that is what I used, but you can use walnuts or leave the nuts out altogether.  If you really want to go tropical, use macadamia nuts.  Yum.


White whole wheat flour isn’t always a great substitute for all purpose, but it worked well here.  White whole wheat flour does have more texture than all purpose, so when I tried it in a pound cake a while back it wasn’t great.  I’d imagine it would work in banana bread, though.  White whole wheat flour apparently has the same health benefits of whole wheat flour, but without the stuff that gives whole wheat flour its strong flavor and darker color.  I don’t know the proper terms for all of that or the reason behind it all, but I do know that when I can sneak good stuff into my baked goods without it changing the texture or flavor too much, I am on board.  It’s all about lessening the guilt, am I right?  I have the same mentality with the coconut oil.  How can a slice of bread made with coconut oil, white whole wheat flour, and zucchini be BAD for me?  It can’t.  What sugar?  It all cancels out…  So I’ll go ahead and eat another slice smothered in butter.  Eat up and enjoy!

Coconut Oil Zucchini Bread

Adapted from Mom’s Zucchini Bread


  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut oil, softened if needed
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini, drained on paper towels for 10-15 minutes
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, cooled to room temp


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease and sugar two loaf pans.
  3. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Combine coconut oil and sugar and whisk well.  Add in eggs, one at a time until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in vanilla.
  5. Fold flour into the coconut oil mixture until just combined, then fold in zucchini and pecans.
  6. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  Check bread at 45 by inserting a toothpick into the center.  If it comes out clean, then your bread is done.  If it’s gooey, bake for another 10, then check again.  Mine baked for close to an hour.

Daring Bakers: Dutch Crunch Bread

This month I was confronted by my fear of bread baking with this Daring Bakers challenge.  Thankfully it was a successful baking experience that resulted in a tasty sandwich and picnic lunch with my little family.

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

I had never heard of dutch crunch bread.  One of the reasons I really like being a part of Daring Bakers is the exposure I get to foods in other countries and other regions of the U.S. that I would have otherwise gone my whole life without knowing anything about. Making this bread made me want to go try the real thing sometime.  Whenever I find myself in Northern California I will make sure to keep an eye out for it.

We were given a couple of bread recipes to use as the vehicle for the dutch crunch topping.  I chose a simple soft white bread that I made into rolls.  The dough was so easy, smooth and lovely.  It made me really happy.  And that makes me a little weird, I know.

The topping struck me as strange when I mixed it up and did not look like the recipe said it should.  As I spread it (or tried to) on top of the risen rolls I had some serious doubts.  But they baked up beautifully and the topping lived up to its title of dutch crunch, but wasn’t striped like it should have been.  The topping adds great visual appeal and texture to the finished product.  I realized in rereading this recipe that I should have added more water to my topping to make it less stiff and easier to spread.  I used most, but not all of the topping.  Turns out I should have made half a recipe of the topping since I was only making 6 rolls!  I promise that I really do read a recipe all the way through before I start cooking, but sometimes I miss things.  Can I blame pregnancy brain for this even if it happened before I was pregnant?  Luckily there was no harm done and my kitchen didn’t explode as a result of my oversights.

Rolls Before Baking

My sandwich was not exactly one-of-a-kind, but it was simple and good.  Honey ham, white cheddar, whole grain mustard, mayo and spring mix.  I wrapped them up in parchment, packed them in my rarely utilized picnic basket along with some other goodies and picked Ben up from work last Friday and we had a nice family picnic in the park.  So even though the sandwich wasn’t groundbreaking, the experience was really wonderful.  Why don’t we picnic more often?

Below are the recipes for the bread and the topping.  Here is the link to the pdf with more detailed instructions.  Other than the rice flour (which was not hard to find at my well stocked HEB in Houston) you will have most of these ingredients or be able to get them easily.  The rolls I might make again and divide into 8 or 10 because some of the sandwich rolls I ended up with were really massive.  Thanks, Sara and Erica!

Dutch Crunch Topping

Can be halved for the roll recipe below.


  • 2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
  3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping. With the Brown Rice Bread, the loaves should stand for 20 minutes with the topping before baking.
  4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Cruch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

Soft White Rolls

Makes 6


  • 1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ ¼ oz) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (No need to use a thermometer – it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (We’ve tried both nonfat and 2%, with no noticeable difference)
  • 1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (20 gm/ ⅔ oz) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
  • 1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (9 gm/⅓ oz) salt
  • Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).
  2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.
  3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, as shown in the photo below (For us, this usually required an additional 1½ to 2 cups of flour).
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled
  6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point).Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
  7. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.
  8. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.


Cinnamon Bread

If you bake at all, then you can bake this bread.  Not only is it incredibly easy, but the ingredient list makes me oh so very happy.  I almost always have every single item in my kitchen.  Glorious!  The only thing that I didn’t have was buttermilk and we all know how easy it is to make your own buttermilk, don’t we?  If not, see this blog.  I do love Smitten Kitchen.  Her blog makes me hungry.

Back to the cinnamon bread.

I made this for a neighbor who I made some cinnamon Amish friendship bread for a while back.  He kept asking me to make more of it, but I’d let my starter die and couldn’t do it.  I found this to be a great substitute and I can make it without having to keep feeding the friendship starter and making more loaves than I could ever hope to eat.

The recipe is from, here is the link to the original recipe.  I changed the method for mixing the batter together to something I was more comfortable with.  I doubt it makes much of a difference, if any.  For the topping I used 2 tablespoons of melted butter and about 3 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar I already had mixed up.  Maybe this mixture swirled on top of the batter made it rise up all weird in the center but not on the edges?  I don’t know.  It isn’t pretty, but it is good.  Enjoy.

Cinnamon Bread

Courtesy of


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and sugar one 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Beat the oil and sugar, then add in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and salt then mix into wet ingredients, followed by the buttermilk.  Beat 3 minutes. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Smooth top.
  4. Combine 3 tablespoons white sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and butter. Drizzle topping over smoothed batter. Using knife, cut in a light swirling motion to give a marbled effect.
  5. Bake for about 50 minutes. Test with toothpick. When inserted it should come out clean. Remove bread from pan to rack to cool.



Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day: Loaf 1

For Christmas I got this book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, from my mother-in-law.  Thanks, Kate!  I have always felt a little negative toward yeast and yeast breads.  I have had some success with yeast doughs, but not enough to make me feel very confident.  This book makes bread baking seem accessible and simple.

After reading through the introduction, tips, ingredients and master recipe I ordered these food storage containers from and once I received them I got started.

The ingredients are simple and you most likely have all of them at this very moment.  Flour, water, yeast and salt.  That’s it.

If you have a large enough container, you can mix it all up in there with a wooden spoon (less clean up), let it rise for a couple hours, then store it in the fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 2 weeks!

There aren’t many hard and fast rules here.  Temperature of the water, initial rising time, the amount the dough has risen (double, triple, etc) days in the fridge, and the amount of dough for your loaf are all approximate.  The directions and ingredients are clear, you just don’t have to worry about water that is exactly 101.3 degrees or a ball of dough that is exactly 1 pound 2.25 ounces.  This is stress free bread making!

That is the part I really love about this.  If you thought you were going to have time to make baguettes to eat with dinner, but suddenly your 2 month old spits up all over the couch and you, then you don’t have to worry about it.  Flexibility.  Wonderful flexibility.

Here are the pre and post risen dough.  My dough just about doubled in volume after 3 hours at room temperature.  I really like these containers.

The dough rose well, it was easy to form into a “boule”…fancy French term for ball of dough, and while the directions for baking seem a bit tedious they are actually quite easy to pull off.  After 30 minutes of baking my bread wasn’t very dark, and it did not look like the bread on the cover of the book.  BUT, it smelled lovely, it had a nice crisp crust, a chewy interior and a yeasty, and just slightly salty flavor.  I am hopeful that the more bread I bake, the better each loaf will be.  So, here is loaf # 1!

Kitchen Disaster: Cottage Cheese Banana Bread

Some people have asked me how I choose the recipes I put on this blog.  I usually put any new recipe I try, because usually everything is pretty good and worth sharing.  But usually does not mean always.  Let’s use a bread recipe as an example.

I have been on a mission to rid my freezer and fridge of things that need to be used up.  Last week I decided to use the rest of a container of cottage cheese and some bananas I had frozen.  It seemed like an OK recipe.  The only ingredient out of the ordinary was the cottage cheese.  I thought it might create a creamy texture with a little tang.  Kind of like yogurt.  I think it was actually the downfall of this bread.  The cottage cheese curds baked in the bread created a truly funky texture.  The bread took a lot longer to bake than instructed below.  Even after 40 minutes in the oven the middle was gooey.  After 50 minutes I took it out of the oven and after cooling I sliced it up revealing a still undercooked center.  The edges were OK, but I ended up throwing the loaf away after eating half of a piece I had toasted and buttered.  And I don’t throw food away easily.  It just wasn’t worth it.

So, unlike other posts on Hottie Biscotti, this recipe is one that I do not recommend.  If you have a good bread recipe that uses cottage cheese, then please let me know.  At this point I am not likely to try another baked good where cottage cheese is involved.

Here is the recipe, and the source.

Cottage Cheese Banana Bread


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Shake of cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. Coat loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine ingredients in large mixing bowl. Blend well.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan; spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 32-35 minutes.

Cherry, Almond and Coconut Bread

A fellow 6th grade math teacher gave me a bag of Amish friendship bread starter about a 6 weeks ago and I have been going strong giving away starter and baking bread every ten days since then.  The problem now is that I’m running out of friends to give it to!  Nothing like realizing you only have 12 friends to really boost the self esteem.  Sad day.  Anyone in Amarillo need some starter?  Let me know.  I will even drive it to your house.  There is one caveat, you have to then become my friend…

I’ve tried a few variations on the basic cinnamon bread.

  1. butterscotch pudding with toffee bits
  2. butterscotch pudding with toffee bits and vanilla chips
  3. vanilla pudding with pecans
  4. chocolate pudding with white chocolate chips

These cookies I made last week inspired my latest bread experiment.  Seeing as how I had dried cherries, almonds and coconut on hand it only seemed natural to give these ingredients a chance in the bread.  I made one loaf plain with vanilla pudding and cinnamon, and to the remaining batter I added the cherries, almonds and coconut; about a handful of each.  What am I doing?  No measuring?  I think I’m turning in to Rachel Ray!  Before you know it I am going to be writing EVOO in my posts and giving all my posts super cutesy names!  OK, OK.  I will not turn in to Rachel Ray.  I will tell you that the amounts were about 3/4 cup each.  Give or take…

If you have friendship bread starter, then just add 3/4 cup each cherries, sliced almonds and sweetened shredded coconut.  If you do NOT have starter, then you can try to make your own using the following recipe from  After you make the starter you can make the bread!  The recipe I have been using is at the bottom of this post.  One of the best parts about this bread is the cinnamon sugar coated pans.  It gives such a wonderful, crunchy exterior.  I used some Sugar in the Raw on top of my loaves and it was incredibly good.  Perfect crunchy sweetness.


Monster Zucchini Part I: Zucchini Bread

Last week I was greeted at 8am with a bag of fresh vegetables from one of my co-workers.  There were beautiful red cherry tomatoes, a couple of bright green jalapeños and the biggest zucchini I had ever seen!  My first thought was zucchini bread.  I love how moist and wonderful zucchini bread is, and I like that it has vegetables in it…even if none of the original nutritional value remains after it’s been mixed with sugar, oil and eggs.


Back to the huge zucchini.  I really wish I’d weighed this monster before using it yesterday.  Just use this picture as proof…it was a big vegetable.